Oberst was backed by a mix of multi-instrumentalists. At one point drummer Janet Weiss (of Sleater-Kinney) took up the ukulele while Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott swapped their guitars for keyboards, violins, and even a French horn. The set was a mix that included everything from M. Ward songs to pieces from 2002's Lifted to the forthcoming Casadaga (Saddle Creek, due April 10). And the surprisingly effusive Oberst kept encouraging the audience to applaud "my beautiful band."
He ignored frequent yells by girls confessing their love for him and focused on more important things: "How's the Big Dig — you still digging?" What happened to the sad eyed emo boy from Omaha? Instead, he danced, gave the guitar techs a hard time, then made up for it with a hug, and closed his set by passing his band mates' microphones to the audience for a sing-along of "la-la-la's" during "Laura Laurent." During their half-hour encore, Oberst squealed that the audience made him feel like Dolly Parton and declared his nostalgia for the Somerville, a venue he has performed at frequently since 2001. By the end of the encore, feedback and chaos reigned. Another difference from the old Bright Eyes.